Scleroderma Treatments for Heart Problems and Lung Damage

Scleroderma Treatments for Lung Damage

About 10 to 15 percent of people with systemic sclerosis develop severe lung disease, which comes in two forms:
 
 
Scleroderma treatment for the two conditions is different. Pulmonary fibrosis may be treated with drugs that suppress the immune system, such as cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan®) or azathioprine (Imuran®), along with low doses of corticosteroids. Pulmonary hypertension may be treated with drugs that dilate the blood vessels, such as prostacyclin or iloprost.
 
To minimize lung complications, work closely with your medical team and do the following:
 
  • Watch for signs of lung disease, including fatigue, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, and swollen feet. Report these symptoms to your doctor.
 
  • Have your lungs closely checked, using standard lung-function tests, during the early stages of skin thickening. These tests, which can find problems at the earliest and most treatable stages, are needed because lung damage can occur even before you notice any symptoms.
 
  • Get regular flu and pneumonia vaccines. Contracting either illness could be dangerous for a person with lung disease.
 

Scleroderma Treatments for Heart Problems

About 15 to 20 percent of people with systemic sclerosis develop heart problems, including scarring and weakening of the heart (cardiomyopathy), inflamed heart muscle (myocarditis), and abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia). All of these problems can be treated.
 
Scleroderma treatments range from drugs to surgery, and vary depending on the nature of the condition.
 

Scleroderma Information

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